Hines west coast

Hi all, any thoughts on hines la office? would love to learn more about deal flow, structure, comp, hours, growth, culture

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Comments (27)

  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm
Dec 30, 2020 - 2:45pm

Hines is Hines. One of the, if not the, best development firms in North America. Each office is somewhat different in terms of reputation but overall they are all strong. Did hear that a West Coast office has some layoffs earlier this year. Pay is good but not at the same level as BX/SW and to go with that they will also not work you like a BX/SW would. Mild focus on pedigree. Overall it's a great place to be with an honest culture. Have seen some very long tenures at the firm which is indicative of it being a great place to work. 

If someone else on this forum could chime in on what earnings look like as you become more senior I am also very interested. They have the ability to co-invest in deals so I can imagine that after 5-7 years at Hines, and assuming you invested at around the year 2/3 mark, you'd start to see some major liquidity events (i.e. the development sold/recapitalized) and be earning hundreds of thousands alongside your typical base & bonus. Think I saw somewhere on WSO that an MD made about $15MM over the course of his career with Hines. 

Jan 4, 2021 - 3:56pm

Hines is Hines. One of the, if not the, best development firms in North America.

Really can't emphasize this enough 

Commercial Real Estate Developer

  • 1
  • Director in RE - Comm
Jan 2, 2021 - 8:29am

Honestly, probably the best Hines US office.

not a ton of deal flow right now, just sold a lot of their west coast holdings right before COVID. Most activity right now is focused on a few big developments.

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  • Investment Analyst in RE - Comm
Jan 2, 2021 - 11:45am

you're saying the LA hines office is prob the best? and what type of bumps would you get at director level before md level

Jan 3, 2021 - 1:08pm

Lol "milf focus" on pedigree

I had a flair for languages. But I soon discovered that what talks best is dollars, dinars, drachmas, rubles, rupees and pounds fucking sterling.
Most Helpful
Jan 5, 2021 - 11:05pm

Hines is one of the best office developers in the world.  While they are active in the other major product types of commercial real estate (retail, industrial, multifamily) and residential, I do not consider them a top tier developer in any of these.  What Hines does exceptionally well, and perhaps better than anyone else in the world, is deliver alpha to investors through complex, ground up development.  While they do not strive in other commercial real estate product types, they have had notable success in more complex deals, an example of such may include a high rise multifamily tower located in a downtown submarket.

As others have noted, each office is very different, which is driven by the corporate culture.  It is difficult to explain, but perhaps sharing a piece of Hines lore will help.  When Gerry began to expand his business outside of Houston, TX, he operated the business as a sole Owner - similar to how Rob Speyer runs Tishman Speyer today.  However, he found that he too often lost money on these expansion offices.  He pivoted his business model to a profit center model, which works more like a franchise model.  Gerry effectively provided backing to these individuals and sent them on their way to open regional offices.  Since that day, the Company as a whole has never lost money in a year.  The thought is that the leaders of the regional offices are highly aligned with the Hines family.  They only make money when the Hines family makes money, and vice versa.  This in turned has created long term partners in both the overall business and the regional offices.

The Los Angeles office is under the West Coast office.  The West Coast was ran by James Buie (a legend in his own right) until last year.  The Los Angeles office is active in development, but also is unique in that they have embraced acquisitions more than any other office.  They had (may still have) an active partnership with Oaktree Capital for acquisition opportunities.

Hours can be long with 60 - 80 hour weeks.  The work environment can be fast paced and challenging, depending on what projects you are working on.  But that is also part of the fun.  Unfortunately, the pay is significantly under market.  The compensation at Hines (to date) is more exponential and they drastically underpay low- to mid-level employees.  As others have mentioned, the real money is in the leadership roles, primarily in the region.  You can not buy into deals.  However, you are awarded equity depending on your position and role.  This is all fairly political and will vary by office.  Associates in some regions will be awarded equity while only Managing Directors will be awarded equity in others.  This comes down to the region leader.  At the end of the day, any real money is going to be in the equity you are awarded, unless you are one of the few to become a regional leader.  The opportunities vary by office.  One of the downsides of the franchise model is the regional offices can become quite political, especially with their interactions with corporate.

With all of this said, this is all for not.  Hines is a family company and as they have announced over the last few years, they intend to keep it that way.  Gerry successfully handed off the company to Jeff and Jeff is now handing the company off to his daughter, Laura.  Effectively, she will be the future leader of the company and her vision will guide the company.  Based on their recent actions, it seems clear they want to be more aggressive in pursuing the capital allocator role and actively capital raising funds for both development and acquisitions.  The Blackstone model is more lucrative and stable and it appears their intent it to try to compete more directly with Blackstone over time.  However, at the end of the day, who knows.  Laura is still relatively young and there's a lot of experienced, exceptional advisors around her.  Over time I am sure she will find her way for the best path of the company.

At the end of the day, Hines is a top tier company for training.  At this point in the company's maturation, the likelihood of you making are real money here are slim to none.  The path is too paved and therefore the culture is shifting from entrepreneurial to corporate.  But it is a great place to grind it out, learn, and depart elsewhere for better opportunities when you feel ready.

  • Associate 2 in PE - Other
Jun 9, 2021 - 6:32pm

This is a great write up. Two other points I'd add are the franchise model can lead to very different cultures office by office, with culture coming from the SMD or MD running the office you're in rather than a Hines wide culture. On getting equity in projects, this sounds great but if a project blows up you can end up on the hook for money lost as the Hines family effectively loans you the money for your equity stake. Obviously everyone expects their projects to go well, but I've heard of people who owe 6 figure sums due to projects not performing. To caveat, this may have changed / be changing as it transitions from Jeff to Laura, my knowledge is about 3 years out of date now and as pointed out this can even differ at the region level.

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